I attended the Nine Inch Nails Lights in the Sky concert in Greenville's Bi-Lo Center last night. This is an account of the event, and my view of it.
First, I attended it with my brother. In addition to suffering through yet another of the many bouts of sinusitis I face, I came to the concert in the midst of a very interesting point of my life (i.e., failing relationships, failing class performance, health issues, lifestyle changes, etc.). The combination of all this put me in the right frame of mind for the band I know and love.
Second, this is the second time I seen Trent and his gang live. The time before was back in '95 at the Carolina Coliseum. They were showing off The Downward Spiral that night. While I did have fun, the fact that five security fucktards pummeled me for crowd crawling left it with an overwhelming sense of anger.
I rode from the hometown of Charleston to Greenville in two parts. The first one was between Chas and Cola with a good friend of mine I saw for the first time in over four years. He too, was facing certain points of this life, so the drive gave us a wonderful chance to catch up and discuss life and its mishaps. I then switched to my brother's vehicle in Cola for the rest of the ride.
We got to the center by about four, so did some tailgating until we decided it was time to pickup our tickets and venture inside. There's nothing quite like the experience of lining up with other NIN fans trying to outdo each other with "how devoted of a fan I am" stories, so I walked around with my brother buying $7 24oz of Bud light.
The opening band was a group called Health, an experimental noise/disco band from LA. Their show consisted of the back screen being split down the half into a blue and pink video of 20-second delayed stage antics. I felt the band was trying to bring an Einstürzende Neubauten feel to the land of techno. However, I could tell many members of the audience saw the jerky guitar rifts and dance steps as attempts of chaining together several short sessions of aggravation into one overall feel of annoyance.
Trent took the stage about 9PM, and followed the already posted set list.
While Nails put on a very elaborate show mixing their style of music to a truly impressive electronic visual display, the thing that really bothered me was the fact that there was very limited crowd involvement. For example, I was in the only mosh pit I saw during the whole show. It spun up throughout March of the Pigs, ended with that song, and thanks to much insistence with me spun up again (with very less intensity and numbers) to last throughout Gave Up. That was it...
Crowd crawling was pretty much non existent too. I saw three attempts. The first guy made it over two people and then was dropped. The second person was pushed over the front line, but it kinda had more of a "I need to GTFO of here" feel. The third person made it twice as far as the first....amazing. There was very little jumping up and down, and lots of the hand clapping was prompted. Trent...I'm sorry.
The songs I really liked were ones that really spoke to me during this part of my life and allowed me to reflect on what is going on. Most of them are old favorites too, so that might explain why I felt the way I did about their performance.
First up is The Wretched. Yeah, this little ditty always struck a cord with me cause I have felt the Hand of God pushing down. In addition, it never turns out the way that I wanted it to, and I do know exactly what it feels like.
Piggy came after a very impressive visual performance, and the blue flames behind the players was a very, very nice touch.
Nothing's turning out the way I planned
There's a lot of things I hoped you could help me understand
What am I supposed to do
I lost my shit because of you
Nothing [will] stop me now
Cause I don't care anymore
Wow...how else could I describe things right now?
Terrible Lie was the next impressionable one. This is cause it too is an old favorite and the fact that "I [seethe] with animosity," am going to end up "all alone in a world you must despise," and He's taking away the someone I need to hold onto, are all things I feel at this moment.
Only is probably the most recent song that got to me during the show. Dunno why, maybe the hope of believing that "I just made you up/To hurt myself" really helps right now. Oh yeah, Digital Domain did the video and deserves due credit for their work.
While those were the most notable ones for me, I will mention Hurt only because I feel Trent did it justice singing it Cash's way. In addition, that feels exactly like what I'm doing to everyone right now.
As I said the show was good, and I'm glad I threw down the money and the ride to see it. And while I doubt I was seen jumping up and down in my Ministry shirt, I do take solace in the fact I was probably pissing off the fans around me, but no where near as much as their apathy was doing the same to me.